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El Salvador looks set to become the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender. 

El Salvador’s Bitcoin Bet 

El Salvador is planning to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, the country’s President Nayib Bukele announced last night.

Speaking in a pre-recorded video message at Bitcoin 2021, Bukele revealed that he will be submitting a bill to the country’s congress next week. He said: 

“In the short term, this will generate jobs and help provide financial inclusion to thousands outside the formal economy. And in the medium and long term, we hope that this decision can help us push humanity, at least a tiny bit into the right direction.

Jack Mallers, the founder of Bitcoin payments company Strike, introduced the video, revealing that he had been working in El Salvador to help the technology gain traction. In an impassioned speech, Mallers read an excerpt from the bill, which explained the country’s intentions to adopt a fixed supply digital currency “to mitigate the negative impact from central banks.” He also confirmed that Strike would open an “innovation HQ” in El Salvador, before adding: 

“Today, humanity takes a tremendous leap forward in reinstilling human freedom and financial inclusivity.” 

Importantly, the bill would have to be approved once submitted. Nonetheless, it’s a huge step forward for Bitcoin gaining acceptance, potentially marking the start of other countries adopting a Bitcoin standard. 

Bukele added on Twitter that he has hopes for Bitcoin to improve El Salvador’s economic situation. He pointed out that 70% of the country’s population is unbanked and working in the informal economy, adding that he thinks the move towards adopting the asset “will improve the lives and the future of millions.” 

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